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The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, a 2 GW to 3 GW wind farm proposed by the Power Company of Wyoming LLC (PCW).

The notice of availability of the draft EIS was published in the Federal Register's edition and begins a 90-day comment period.

The approximately 1,100-page draft EIS document results from more than three years of analysis, public input and collaboration among federal, state and local cooperating agencies. The report informs the public of various factors associated with the wind power plant, including its ecological, aesthetic, cultural, economic and social effects. BLM is preparing this EIS pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, as about half of the PCW wind project is sited on federal land.

"The draft EIS is a significant milestone as we work to turn Wyoming's high-capacity, high-volume wind resources into a product that people need - cost-effective renewable energy," says Bill Miller, PCW president and CEO.

The project is expected to include up to 1,000 turbines that will be located on a 320,000-acre working cattle ranch in Carbon County, Wyo. The ranch's outstanding wind resources, coupled with efficient turbine siting, will allow PCW to produce approximately 2.5 GW of renewable energy yet permanently use less than 2,000 acres of land, according to PCW.

BLM officials will host two open-house meetings next month to provide opportunities for the public to review the draft EIS, ask questions and provide written comments for consideration as the agency prepares the final EIS. The meetings will be held on Aug. 22 at the Jeffrey Memorial Community Center in Rawlins from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., as well as on Aug. 23 at the Platte Valley Community Center in Saratoga from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The draft EIS can be found at blm.gov. To be considered in the final EIS, public comments are requested by Oct. 19.

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